2014 Volkswagen Touareg

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Driving ease
  • Comfortable outboard backseat
  • Cabin materials

The Bad

  • Price
  • Hybrid gas mileage
  • Uncomfortable and difficult center rear seat belt

Notable Features of the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg

  • New available motion-activated liftgate
  • New R-Line trim
  • Available gasoline, diesel or gas-electric hybrid V-6 engines
  • Standard AWD
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 7,716-pound towing capacity

2014 Volkswagen Touareg Road Test

Kristin Varela

I'm a little shocked to discover that the last time I reviewed a Volkswagen Touareg was a full decade ago, before I had a teenager and the two corresponding faint parallel lines between my eyebrows to show for it (there are an equal number of smile lines worked in there, as well). While I'm only starting to review 2014 vehicles, the VW Touareg is starting the year off strong and might just qualify as one of the decade's most improved vehicles.

Although the Touareg has improved greatly, it's still missing a few features that, at its high price, really should be standard.

For 2014, VW has added a new R-Line trim with a sport-tuned suspension and a few sporty-looking design features into the Touareg lineup. Check out this year's model compared with the 2013 version here.

The Touareg, an AWD five-seater, comes in Sport, R-Line, Lux and Executive trim levels. Compare them side-by-side here. All four versions are available with a gasoline or a more fuel-efficient clean-diesel engine. Check them out side by side here. I drove the Touareg TDI Lux.

If paying a high price makes you want a brand with a little more status, you may compare the Audi Q5, Acura MDX, or Mercedes-Benz M-Class with the Touareg. You can see their differences side by side here.

Exterior & Styling
The new R-Line addition to the all-wheel-drive Touareg lineup distinguishes itself with, according to Volkswagen, "an aggressive exterior appearance distinguished by unique front bumper fascia, side skirts, R-Line ba...

I'm a little shocked to discover that the last time I reviewed a Volkswagen Touareg was a full decade ago, before I had a teenager and the two corresponding faint parallel lines between my eyebrows to show for it (there are an equal number of smile lines worked in there, as well). While I'm only starting to review 2014 vehicles, the VW Touareg is starting the year off strong and might just qualify as one of the decade's most improved vehicles.

Although the Touareg has improved greatly, it's still missing a few features that, at its high price, really should be standard.

For 2014, VW has added a new R-Line trim with a sport-tuned suspension and a few sporty-looking design features into the Touareg lineup. Check out this year's model compared with the 2013 version here.

The Touareg, an AWD five-seater, comes in Sport, R-Line, Lux and Executive trim levels. Compare them side-by-side here. All four versions are available with a gasoline or a more fuel-efficient clean-diesel engine. Check them out side by side here. I drove the Touareg TDI Lux.

If paying a high price makes you want a brand with a little more status, you may compare the Audi Q5, Acura MDX, or Mercedes-Benz M-Class with the Touareg. You can see their differences side by side here.

Exterior & Styling
The new R-Line addition to the all-wheel-drive Touareg lineup distinguishes itself with, according to Volkswagen, "an aggressive exterior appearance distinguished by unique front bumper fascia, side skirts, R-Line badges, LED taillights and oval-shaped dual exhaust tips at the rear." Twenty-inch aluminum-alloy wheels add to the mean-machine look.

This is an aggressive-looking SUV without being unnecessarily masculine. The eyelash LEDs around the front headlights, combined with large lower air scoops, create a sense of visual balance that's one part naughty macho, one part soft and sensitive.

How It Drives
I have to admit, I was expecting a pretty rough, SUV-like ride in the 2014 Touareg, complete with enough body roll in turns to make even stomachs of steel toss their cookies. The Touareg's rather refined ride quality, however, pleasantly surprised me.

This is a fun car to drive. The 240-horsepower, 3.0-liter clean-diesel engine fuel economy gets an EPA-estimated 20/29/23 mpg city/highway/combined and has torque that feels like it will never quit, even on the high-altitude roads I traverse daily. I had to continually rein myself in from wanting to roar away from every stoplight. It was, however, relatively easy to smooth out my acceleration and create a calmer ride for comfortably moving the kids without spilling their juice boxes.

In deceleration, which is always critical, the Volkswagen Touareg felt linear and responsive. I had complete confidence in the braking and no problem bringing this 4,974-pound charging bull to a stop.

As with most SUVs, the driver does feel a little disconnected from the road, but there was not as much tilt in the corners as I would have expected in a car this large and heavy. For the most part, I was comfortable and didn't feel as if I were driving a floating boat.

As a passenger, my husband said the ride was very comfortable and always felt smooth and controlled, even when I was in a hurry or "testing" the acceleration from a stop.

The Touareg is a large SUV that feels much smaller, and its drivability covers a broad spectrum, from comfortably taking kids to school to charging up mountain passes … or racing away from stoplights, if you're that kind of driver.

Interior
The interior of my Touareg TDI Lux featured beautiful, rich chocolate-brown leather seats. As I have come to expect from Volkswagen's pricier offerings, the interior felt luxurious (hence the trim name) without being too pretentious or museum-like.

I loved the panoramic roof, standard on all but the Volkswagen Touareg Sport trim, which is becoming more common on SUVs in this price range. It truly does transfer that popular concept of inside/outside living from your home to your car, while maintaining a comfortable and hospitable environment inside. It was intuitive and easy to control the span of the opening with a simple twist of the dial. Opening the screen and driving around in a relative solarium allowed my family to bask in the changing Colorado vista and colors of the fall leaves.

The front seats feature 12-way power adjustability, with enough flexibility to create the feel of a custom seat. I was a little disappointed the side bolster support wasn't adjustable, especially at this price. While seat heat is included up front on all trims, the ability to cool the seats is also missing. I recently drove a Hyundai Santa Fe that featured ventilated seats at a much lower price, and I quickly became attached.

There are small in-door pockets in both the front and rear doors, but they lack integrated bottleholders. Up front, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to store garage remotes, gate transponders, cell phones and chargers, and there's even a perfectly sized little round place to stash the Touareg's electronic key fob. On the topic of the key fob, the Touareg's is large, which in fairness seems to be the standard. While it's less of an issue for us women who can keep it stashed in a dark recess of our purse, my husband continually commented on the bulky size of the fob, which made it difficult to carry comfortably in his jeans pocket. He whined that it felt like carrying a small brick with him at all times. He declined my suggestion that he invest in a man purse.

At any given time, two of my three kids (ages 9, 11 and 13) were comfortable in the back, and the brown leather seats were great when it came to cleaning up spills and hiding the dirt and grime that seems to follow them, Pig-Pen-like, everywhere they go. The kid in the center position, however, had to endure some discomfort thanks to the seat belt (more details below in the Safety section). They all had plenty of legroom thanks to a sliding rear seat that can move up to 6.3 inches back and forth. It also reclines a bit. Netted compartments on the back of each of the front seats stretched to provide ample storage for all the kids' stuff.

Surprisingly enough, there weren't too many disagreements as to who would sit in the dreaded, tight middle seat. My teenage daughter actually volunteered to be the sacrificial middle-seat lamb once she discovered the standard home power outlet that's accessible from the middle seat, stashed at the back of the center console. This allowed her to quickly beef up the power on her iPad before a school presentation. The fold-down armrest in the center position has two cupholders but lacks any additional storage capabilities.

Ergonomics & Electronics
With the constantly revolving door of technological advances in cars, every time I get a new test car I feel like I'm studying for the SAT just trying to understand how to program the radio or adjust the temperature in the car. This is one area in which the Touareg has improved exponentially over the years. Today's version seems to have found a comfortable balance between technology and ease of use. Buttons and dials were in naturally anticipated places, close at hand and clearly marked. There was no need to navigate through multiple touch-screen menus just to change the radio station, adjust the airflow or complete any other common task.

While it took a couple of attempts to pair my iPhone using the Touareg's Bluetooth, when it finally did sync up it worked seamlessly. I was able to play all my music, including iTunes radio, through the audio system. Phone calls were seamless, with the speaker sounding clear on both sides of the conversation. Even from the backseat, the kids could comfortably communicate on an international call with their grandparents in South Africa.

Cargo & Storage
The 
Volkswagen Touareg drives like a small SUV, yet when you open the back and start folding the 60/40-split seats, you realize you have much more cargo space and flexibility than you anticipated (64 cubic feet with the seats folded). If you need even more cargo-hauling capability, you may want to direct your attention toward the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and its 80.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, or the Acura MDX, with 68.4 cubic feet. The Audi Q5 brings up the rear with just 57.3 cubic feet.

Once you fold the Volkswagen Touareg's rear seats, however, they still protrude up a little rather than lying completely flat, which could limit the type of bulky items you can load. (Come on, Volkswagen engineers, that's why you get paid the big bucks!)

While it is entertaining to watch the kids jumping up and down, trying to reaching the button on the liftgate to close the powered cargo door, it is in fact a little high to be completely functional. Cue exciting new optional car feature: the foot-swipe opener. When your hands are full or you're trying to control young kids in a dangerous parking lot, simply swipe your foot under the Touareg's bumper to open and close the liftgate.

Safety
Though crash tests have not yet been reported on the 2014 VW Touareg as of this writing, it hasn't been redesigned, so results from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing of the 2013 should apply. The 2013 received the top score of good in frontal-crash, side-impact, roof-strength and seat/head restraint tests, the latter of which indicates whiplash protection in a rear impact.

Installing child-safety seats in the Volkswagen Touareg using the Latch system will be an exercise in patience for parents who may already be thin on it. The lower anchors are buried deep in the seat bight, between the very stiff leather of the seat back and the bottom cushions. With little to no clearance underneath, the Latch anchor itself leaves very little wiggle room.

The center rear seat belt buckle is also nearly unusable. It rotates up on a stiff, hinged buckle base that is impossible for kids to use one-handed, even my 13-year-old. It required one of her sisters sitting to the right of her to grab the buckle base and hold it up out of the way while she shimmied into the middle seat before she could then insert the buckle. Once it was buckled, the rotating hinge kept the buckle base pressed up against her hip with constant, uncomfortable pressure.

While some may argue against the necessity of an overabundance of airbags, for me as a mom, more airbags equals a more confident feeling of safety for my precious cargo, whether that's realistic or not. The 2014 Touareg has only six airbags; it lacks the extra ones that are popping up in much less expensive vehicles.

The Touareg Lux that I drove came standard with a backup camera with onscreen guides to help avoid any potentially deadly pedestrian backovers. A 360-degree bird's-eye-view camera is also available.

An advanced rollover sensor system in the Volkswagen Touareg can deploy the side curtain airbags if it senses a rollover is imminent. In addition to this system, in the event of a collision, an available crash-response system will unlock the Touareg's doors, disable the fuel pump and turn on the hazard lights.

See all the standard safety features here.

Value in Its Class
While I can see firsthand the improvements the 
Volkswagen Touareg has made over the past 10 years, unlike the rest of Volkswagen's lineup, the Touareg doesn't seem to fit the mold of value for your money. The price tag feels exorbitant for what you get. As one of our readers noted, "if you're going to pay for an Audi, why not buy an Audi?"

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Latest 2014 Touareg Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.9)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Best I've Ever Had

by JFisher686 from Apopka, FL on August 9, 2018

For many years I have had Ford Explorers and Expeditions. I have enjoyed them, but found that they were unable to do the heavy towing that I needed. With a towing capacity of 7500 lbs, the Touareg was ... Read full review

(5.0)

Quality in every aspect

by Alan from Eustis, FL on February 18, 2018

This SUV is one heck of a vehicle. The towing performance for a mid size SUV at 7700 lbs is just wonderful. Developed with Porsche it is the vehicle no one thinks about or really knows how good it ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2014 Volkswagen Touareg 3.6L Sport

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Volkswagen
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    7 years/less than 72,000 or 75,000 miles (model-year specific)

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    Model-year 2017 and older, 2 years/24,000 miles; model-year 2018 and forward, 1 year/12,000 miles; TDI models, 2 years/unlimited miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    5 years/60,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    100-plus point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Touareg received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker